MetaGold LLC, an indie game studio, recently released a game demo on Google Play Store. The game, War of Magi, is a multiplayer, turn-based card game. You play as a young magician aspiring to learn and master war magic. The demo serves as a taste of things to come from the game developer.
The studio has bigger goals than simply releasing games; it aims to create a new type of in-game economy, planning to do so by offering MetaGold (MEG) tokens as its in-game currency. The end goal is to release an MMO game (temporarily titled Project X) with a player-driven cryptocurrency-based economy. According to MetaGold LLC, MEG tokens will be used “to buy limited edition in-game items including custom skins, characters, booster packs, cards and more.”
The idea is to take gamer incentivization to a new level by putting a financial value on the in-game work a player does. If a player can make their character spend real world hours mining gold from an in-game cave and receive virtual currency that is spendable in real life, it serves to legitimize their in-game efforts and promote brand loyalty.
This isn’t the first time something like this has been offered. Blizzard allows players to trade World of Warcraft gold for in-game items in other games, as well as buy entirely different Blizzard games at Battle.net. Players can even pay their game subscription with gold that they earned in that same game.
Here’s where MetaGold is different: MEG is an ERC20 token. That’s significant because ERC20 is Ethereum’s standard for tokens, meaning MEG tokens will be spendable in MetaGold LLC games and outside of its game ecosystem. This may lead other games to incorporate MEG tokens as their in-game currency, and gamers who earn MEGs could literally sell them at an exchange (if an exchange were to list MEG tokens) because of their ERC20 compliance. MetaGold’s website describes the MEG token, writing: “Share them, trade them, or keep them locked in the blockchain as true collector. All transfers are safely and efficiently stored on Ethereum, and it's very easy to use for transactions.”
A gamer could mine some in-game gold and then sell it, in-game, for MEGs. They could then exchange those MEGs for other tokens or Ether (ETH) and later convert their ETH to USD or the fiat of their choice. One wouldn’t be able to earn a living this way, but it certainly is nice to put a financial value on a gamer’s time and in-game efforts.
MetaGold will be having a crowdsale on April 3, 2017, with a minimum funding target of $250,000 USD and a maximum of $6M USD. It will accept ETH or BTC (bitcoin) and the crowdsale will continue until April 25, 2017, or until the maximum amount of funding is reached. MEG tokens will be priced at 0.0011 BTC for 1 MEG (currently ~$1.14 USD). The amount of funding received will dictate what projects are worked on and the magnitude of those projects. If the minimum funding goal is not met, all backers will be refunded.
Modern gaming is changing. Free games that offer in-app purchases have become very popular. Gamers are now used to the idea of injecting real world money into the games they play in order to receive an advantage or unique in-game item. That means certain in-game items have real financial value. The next logical step is allowing currency to flow from the game to the gamers. As technology advances, the future is becoming more and more digitized. The merging of the physical and digital worlds is happening – and virtual currency is leading the charge.